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“Cowboy Danny Boone—a name he made up one drunken night and has regretted ever since—harbors a big past and yearns for a small future. A short, bright career as a champion bull rider almost ended in his death when his homophobic father discovered Danny was gay. Now Danny longs for a plot of land he can build a ranch house on and enough money to make up for some of the education he missed.

Danny also hides a preference for beautiful femmes who like to top—a combo rarer than a unicorn. Then onto the guest ranch where Danny works drives San Francisco decorator Laurie Belmont, a young man so gorgeous he makes horses gasp, and so ballsy he almost kills Danny’s attacker.

Laurie’s trying to find his way out from under the thumb of a domineering mother, helpless father, and rich, privileged boyfriend.

But no matter the attraction, their lives are worlds apart, and cowboys don’t ride unicorns.”

Cowboys Don't Ride Unicorns (Cowboys Don't, #2)

I got an ARC of this book.

I never see femme tops, so I was all about this book immediately. I needed it. The title was goofy and I enjoyed that, but it also annoyed me. Unicorns generally refer to bi women who date couples in the polyamorous world, so it felt like it was a weird word to choose. There was also no real explanation, but the MC started referring to the other as a unicorn out of nowhere and it just stuck for some reason. So mixed feelings, but it worked to suck me in so it really did its job.

The characters didn’t feel as alive as the ones in the first book. The main couple really felt flat until mostly through the book. Once there was some more backstory to Laurie I actually liked him, before that I didn’t see why anyone would like him even based on physical attraction. This book relied so heavily on looks for attraction that it was a bit far fetched for me too. One of the first twists/big plot points relied on someone giving up everything they had worked for for someone they barely knew based on a sexual attraction. Maybe I am just too ace to understand giving up everything over an erection.

I did like that there was lube and condom used during the sex scenes, but I had some huge issues with the sex scenes. The first one lacked consent and a condom. There was no condom used for oral sex at any point in the book. There was also not a lot of stretching done, despite one bottom even admitting that he didn’t bottom often despite liking it. There was no talk about STI risk and there should have been, since one character relied on hook-ups and the other found out other risk factors.

The background characters really drove the story. This story was not as wholesome and relied on abusive parents for both characters. There was a lot of homophobia through violence and sexual assault, which felt like overkill to have it happen so often (says the guy in Kansas). It felt like Lain had run out of ideas, which didn’t fit the rest of the story and how complex some of the plots were. It felt beneath her and what I have come to expect of her.

I am still excited to read the third book, but this one just wasn’t as fun as the first book. It felt more like a bridge between the two books. It did introduce the man of the third book pretty early on and give a little bit of a view of him. I am really curious about him.

Overall, I loved the idea of this book. I needed a femme top. I just didn’t want to hear so much calling femmes who have not said they are women or ok with femme coded language called ma’am. I didn’t want to hear “well he is a guy because look at that penis” sort of commentary. It felt so binary and so stilted, so straight female author who bases knowledge of femme culture on Drag Race. So this book was really mixed for me.

3 out of 5 stars. I would maybe recommend this book.

You can buy the book here.

~Isaiah